Saving money is a hard process in itself but all efficient savers can agree on one thing – it all adds up. So here are a few tips on saving money daily, weekly, monthly that can quickly add up to hundreds and thousands at the end of the year.
Regardless of your monthly income, these tips can help you save without feeling a significant pinch in your wallet.
Coins, coins and more coins
From today start collecting all your 25 fils, 50 fils and Dh1 coins at the end of the day. You may have some in your wallet or found a few lying around the house or in your old jeans. Put them away in a carton in your cupboard. Do this every day and every week, make a habit of dropping the coins in that box every day. An extra step I do is also adding in stray Dh5 notes I find in to the box.
One incentive for you – do not count your savings until the carton or your container is full. If it is too low, it can demotivate you but you haven't let it grow! Create a habit and wait to see what it gets you.
Pro-tip: A key thing to remember is though small, these savings are only good if you keep it aside after counting. Count them, exchange them for notes at a local exchange house or even a small grocery, and either deposit it in a bank or keep the money safe and away from your wallet.
Stop using plastic money
I have found shopping has become so easy with credit cards and debit cards that we let slide the additional expenses that come with it. Cash in hand is a level of control, and you can use it for your daily expenses such as grocery.
Of course, with a credit/debit card that adds up points or cashback rewards, this tip is not effective. However, if your rewards are non-existent or negligible, try this: withdraw a lump sum amount based on your monthly or weekly grocery expense. Check your card statements and figure out how much you have spent on grocery on average.
Let’s say Dh1,000 is a reasonable estimate for a small family living in Dubai. Withdraw just Dh250 a week and buy grocery only using that cash – this will force you to prioritise and buy smart. If done properly you should have enough left over for some treats or even better – more savings.
Pro-tip: Buying in bulk can be helpful sometimes but not always, wastage also cuts into your savings
When both partners work, meal prep can be a life saver but it also means 3 to 5 hours of hard-core kitchen duty at least once a week. However, these few hours also mean you save a lot of money because (a) you use everything you buy, hence no waste (b) you are less prone to make impromptu delivery orders.
A few people may argue fresh food is better – and they would be right – but meal prep does not take out the freshness of the food if cooked and stored properly. For the sceptical, start cooking for two days in advance and then increase as you get comfortable with the dishes. Freezing dishes right away is also a good idea to retain freshness if you intend to consume a few days later. Use YouTube for inspiration for the best dishes to meal prep in your favoured cuisine.
Pro-tip: Cook or prep staples in bulk and store separately, for example rice. You could also keep sliced onions and other veggies prepped for various dishes in advance.
Save in gold
Gold is a preferred investment instrument for many but that is not why the yellow metal is in our list.
Many gold jewellery brands in the UAE offer saving schemes, but in gold. You can choose your fixed saving amount – which you can either set up via card or personally deposit in cash – each month which you can redeem at the end of a specified term to buy gold.
For expats saving up for gold purchases for a wedding or any other major event, this can help save in a reasonable, fixed manner and brands offers additional perks to buyers in the scheme. This may include guaranteed discounts on making charges, an additional value to your savings from the retailer or special gifts on purchase etc. There are cons to this method too – you must buy gold to redeem your savings and you cannot buy from another brand. Buyers also must be aware of authenticity of retailers’ claims and keep all receipts/records handy at all times.
Pro-tip: If your chosen brand has branches back home, ask for redemption options there as well in case needed.
Research and then more research
Residents in this day and age are blessed with the power to knowledge but many, if not most, don’t use it. Before making any purchase or payment decision online or offline, do your research. Scan websites, social media, news reports, reviews to make sure your purchase is worth it.
Sometimes buying an item first-hand is more economical than a cheaper second-hand item, or vice-versa. Sometimes, having an experienced professional help you with a task may be more time and cost efficient than doing it yourself.
Pro-tip: Spending a day researching for each significant money decision will save you heartache, money and time later. Ultimately it is your money and your choice, make a wise one.